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Foxes and KFC!

There's nothing quite so guaranteed to wake you up in the morning as extricating a wallaby from a soft-jaw fox trap!

I was a bit hesitant about dealing with this on my own but there being no one else around, I put an old cane stool between me and the claws, released the wallaby's foot and sent it bounding off into the bush with nothing bruised but its ego.

This is the third round of fox trapping we've done on the Co-op since I've been here. The first piggybacked on a Sugarloaf fox trapping grant. My night vision camera had captured a fox slinking past my house on a regular basis and Frank was able to organise a trap to be set along its route. Bingo, we got it the first night!

The second round also came up trumps and we were able to dispatch an adult (and extremely smelly) dog fox.

But there are no guarantees in life and this third round proved fruitless. Perhaps because in high summer there's just so much fresh, young food around for foxes (lizards, snakes, hatchlings, young creatures of all sorts).

It would be prohibitive to trap foxes on the Co-op if it weren't for us volunteers. Each trap needs to be checked every morning and we don't have the funds to pay for the fox-man to do it. So, one of us trudges out, before 8 each morning, takes a photo of the trap sites and messages the images back to Fox-central. It's quite a scheduling burden and can only sustainably be done if there are at least three people willing to take turns.

Foxes are lazy hunters and prefer whatever is relatively easy to catch. Hence their predilection for fast-food over fast food (if you see what I mean). So, the traps are baited with either a bit of venison or the fox favourite, KFC 'Wicked wings'. Apparently Brushtail possums and even a Wallaby are tempted by a bit of Colonel Sanders, as I discovered.

Each fox costs us about $300 for the traps to be set, often re-set and re-baited over a two-week program, though as we've discovered to our cost this price needs to be agreed in advance. There's a view that as soon as you eradicate one fox, another will take its place. And there's truth in that. It's an easy view to hold and conveniently justifies a 'why bother, settle back, and do nothing' approach.

You could just as easily substitute the word weeds for foxes in this argument. I prefer to look at it this way: foxes eat things, things that on a Conservation Co-operative with our Phascogales, White-throated Nightjars, Lyrebirds, Dunnarts etc we would prefer weren't eaten.

So if, for a small investment of our time and money we can do our bit to prevent them becoming fox food, we should!


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